Today in History

AP News
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Posted: May 08, 2011 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Sunday, May 8, the 128th day of 2011. There are 237 days left in the year. This is Mother's Day.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 8, 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany's forces had surrendered, and that "the flags of freedom fly all over Europe."

On this date:

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.

In 1794, Antoine Lavoisier (lah-vwahz-YAY'), the father of modern chemistry, was executed on the guillotine during France's Reign of Terror.

In 1884, the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, was born in Lamar, Mo.

In 1886, Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invented the flavor syrup for Coca-Cola.

In 1914, Paramount Pictures was incorporated by W.W. Hodkinson.

In 1921, Sweden's Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

In 1961, New York's recently created National League baseball team announced that it would be known as the Mets.

In 1973, militant American Indians who'd held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for ten weeks surrendered.

In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Ten years ago: China protested the resumption of U.S. surveillance flights off its coast and said it would refuse to let the United States fly out a crippled Navy spy plane. Pope John Paul II began the final leg of a historic pilgrimage as he arrived in the Mediterranean island nation of Malta.

Five years ago: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (mahk-MOOD' ah-muh-DEE'-neh-zhahd) wrote to President George W. Bush, proposing "new solutions" to their differences in the first letter from an Iranian head of state to an American president in 27 years. Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias was sworn in to another term of office. Stunt artist David Blaine emerged weak and wrinkly from a week spent submerged within an 8-foot snow globe-like tank in the plaza of New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts _ but without a world record for holding his breath.

One year ago: Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, targeted by tea party activists and other groups, lost his bid to serve a fourth term after failing to advance past the GOP state convention. A coal mine in western Siberia was rocked by the first of two methane explosions that claimed the lives of 90 miners. Andor Lilienthal, 99, the last surviving member of the 27 original grandmasters of chess players, died in Budapest. Actress Betty White hosted NBC's "Saturday Night Live" as the result of a Facebook campaign.

Today's Birthdays: Comedian Don Rickles is 85. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 85. Singer Toni Tennille is 71. Actor James Mitchum is 70. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 69. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 66. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 60. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 60. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 58. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 58. Actor David Keith is 57. Actor Stephen Furst is 57. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 47. Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) is 47. Country musician Del Gray is 43. Rock singer Darren Hayes is 39. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 36. Singer Ana Maria Lombo (Eden's Crush) is 33. Actress Julia Whelan (WAY'-lan) is 27.

Thought for Today: "When your mother asks, 'Do you want a piece of advice?' it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway." _ Erma Bombeck, American humorist (1927-1996).

(Above Advance for Use Sunday, May 8)

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